Don't get me wrong, I love me some Iron Skull. The crazy eyes, the improbable origin, the dubious power set, it's all so wonderfully bizarre that you can't help but like him.

But this "super" version of his costume is just wretched:

Is that skull and crossbones insignia tattooed on his bare chest? Or is it one of those peel-and-stick magnetized decals like you see on business vehicles? It's not helped any by the cape, which is either magnetized as well or just ties at his throat, since there's no shirt to stitch it to. Completing the stunning ensemble are the blue swim trunks held up by the obnoxious red studded belt, and matching red studded fringe on top of his boots. I don't know why the boots need a belt, maybe he has troublesome ankles.

In general, you should either go nude or go home, but running around mostly naked with a few super-hero bits tacked on looks terrible. It feels like somehow he rolled out of the shower and was only halfway dressed when The Call came in.

He was much better off when he just wore a suit and tie and tried to taunt his enemies into only firing at his head. Although apparently he took one too many slugs to the ol' noggin and switched to this outfit instead. Pity.

(Image from "Stars and Stripes" number 5, 1941.)

15 Responses to Skulltastic

  1. Gero says:

    I liked him alot better when he had hair and wore a suit…

  2. Patrick says:

    Malibuu Comics gave him an update in the mid 1980’s as part of their “Protectors” series, where he resembled a cyborg.

  3. Mr. Q says:

    Perhaps Project Rooftop can work their magic on updating this very ridiculous look. ^^; They did a bang-up job with their face lift on Unknown Soldier and, just recently, Space Pirate.

    Mr. Q

  4. Me, Myself & I says:

    So how did he escape from the iron lady without breaking a way through for his neck? And why the heck does the yellow wall have green veins?

  5. Owl_Poop says:

    It’s all those shots to the head that caused him to think this outfit is waaay better for kickin’ butt. Then again, with over 90% of criminals wearing “the suit” to this moment, I can see the logic of wearing the opposite. If I had a dented iron skull, that is.

    Bash and Dash, super-hero. Bash and dash.

  6. Cliff says:

    Well, it doesn’t help that he is a victum of the art of the time
    and with a couple of adjustments and the wonders of HM3, he doens’t look half bad


    I had moved my photos from Facebook to Photobucket, mistakenly thinking i had things how you wanted LOL
    I couldn’t find “Copy Image Location” in the popup window, BUT I did just maunally take out the offending:

    so lets see how those do

  7. Cliff says:

    well if you don’t polish your gold it develops fungus apparently …
    or maybe their citrine with streaks of jade?

  8. EnderX says:

    Wouldn’t citrine be more likely to have streaks of amethyst? I’m going with the fungus explanation.

    And I’m having mental images of the comic executives discussing this.

    “Sir, as you can see, the Iron Skull is one of our more popular characters.”

    “Where’s his costume?”


    “He’s a superhero, right? So why’s he in a suit instead of a costume? You know, like that guy Siegel and Schuster came up with?”

    “Sir, I’m not sure thats…”

    “Look, I just want to see him in a costume before the next edition. Jump to it.”

    -So you want a costume, hey? Then I’ll get the art guys to come up with the absolute worst idea they can think of. Then we’ll see if you still want a ‘costumed Skull’, bigshot.-

  9. Reader Kate says:

    Strange how many Golden Age superheroes fought crime while two-thirds naked. They were probably inspired by circus strongmen.
    But if he has that bull’s-eye on his bare chest, I hope he also has an iron ribcage.

  10. William A. Peterson says:

    He’s not naked!
    He’s wearing a Flesh-colored Body Suit!
    {That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it…} 😉

  11. spidercow2010 says:

    It kind of looks like he’s escaping from the Oscar ceremonies. The inker got the colors for the statue and the wall mixed up.
    The music will start up if his beat-down runs long.

  12. thestray says:

    It would be cool if you gave a little background on some of these characters. Who is the Iron Skull? What is his improbable origin? What is his dubious power set? These things are fun to read but I’m often left really curious to learn more about these ridiculous characters.

  13. Jeff Hebert says:

    Thanks for the comment, thestray! You can look up most of these guys on Wikipedia or other online comics databases, and you can read all the adventures for yourself if you like at the Digital Comic Museum.

    As for the Iron Skull, his sole power at first was that he literally had an iron skull. Through some sort of mysterious force he was able to persuade all his enemies to shoot only at his head — never the eyes or throat or chest, just the skull. Which as we mentioned, was iron.

    Very quickly they upgraded his power set so he could do almost anything. I think he fell in a vat of iron or something and then his whole body was invulnerable, for instance. It was a wild and wooly time in the comics publishing game, and pretty much anything went.

  14. thestray says:

    Thanks for the reply. I felt like doing a redesign of this guy, so I whipped this up:

  15. Jeff Hebert says:

    Very nice, thestray!